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"Thomas Day was born in Portsea, Hampshire, and attested for the Royal Engineers at Westminster, in March 1869. He served with the
Royal Engineers during the Ashantee campaign 1873-73, and was present at the battles of Amoaful, Ordashu and Commassie. He was
promoted Sergeant, April 1878. A veteran of the Zulu War, he was also present at the battle of Inyezane (21 January 1879) and with Sir
Evelyn Wood during the Defence of Etschowe (23 January 1879 - 3 April 1879).
Day served during the military operations against the Boers 1880-81, and was ‘present Siege of Lydenburg.... [displayed] gallant
conduct during the Siege of Lydenburg by the Boers during 1881 in bringing in a wounded man under heavy fire.’
Lydenburg is a small town named after Leyden in Holland, 180 miles north east of Pretoria. The name translated from the Dutch means
‘The City of Sorrows’, and it was in such a place that Day found himself with the small force under the command of Lieutenant Walter
H. Long, 94th Foot, 6 January - 30 March 1881. The force comprised of 53 N.C.O.’s and men of the 94th Foot; 8 men of the Royal
Engineers; 6 of the Army Service Corps; 6 of the Army Hospital Corps, Conductor Parsons and Doctor John J. Falvey.
Long’s force of 76 men were crammed into the town’s fort, which measured 78 yards by 20 yards, and under siege for 84 days.
Besieged by an estimated force of 700 Boers, Day was prominent for his work in strengthening the barricades, digging trenches and
erecting entanglements under fire. However, it was for bringing in the mortally wounded Sergeant Cowdy, 94th Foot, under very heavy
fire on the 22nd January that Day was awarded his D.C.M. Also awarded the D.C.M. for this action was Private Morris Whalen, 94th
Foot, who assisted Day in trying to retrieve the stricken Sergeant.
Day was promoted Company Sergeant Major, September 1881, and discharged 10 March 1890, after 21 years and 3 days’ service.
1 of 20 D.C.M.’s awarded for the First Boer War 1880-81, this award being unique to the Royal Engineers."